10 tips to choosing the right summer camp

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With summer just around the corner it’s time to start thinking about what the kids will do this summer. 
Choosing
a summer camp depends on what your kid wants to do, but also how it
fits your expectations. Whether you are looking for a childcare option
or the total camp experience, the number of camps available to parents
can be overwhelming. 
Start your search out on
the right foot by following some easy tips to make choosing, booking,
and sending your kids to camp a fun experience for them and you.  
1.  Pick the right camp
Talk
to your children and find out what interests them. There are all kinds
of specialty camps and getting feedback from you kids can help narrow
down the choices.  Picking the right camp is key to ensuring your
children will have a positive camp experience. 
Camp directories and camp fairs throughout the year can help you work through all the options and choose the right one.
2.  Overnight Camp or Day Camp
There is a big difference between day camps and overnight camps. 
Day
camp is a good introduction to the camp experience, while overnight
camps are better suited for older and more experienced campers. 
Doing
multiple weeks at the same day camp helps campers feel comfortable.
They get to know the staff and other campers who attend multiple
sessions.  
With overnight camp it typically
takes campers at least one week just to settle in, so booking a two-week
stay or more lets them get the most out of the experience. 
3.  Set a budget
Camp can get expensive! Decide how much money you can allocate to summer camp programs and stick to it.  
4.  Plan ahead 
Many
camps offer early registration discounts. Take advantage of as many
discounts as possible by planning early. Read up on the camps’
cancellation and refund policy if you are registering early in case you
have to make any changes.  
5.  Organize with other parents
Most
kids prefer to go to camp with a friend since it helps with first day
jitters. Talk to your friends’ parents and see what their plans are for
the summer. This way you can coordinate for the kids to be at camp
together.  
6.  Learn about the camps you are considering
Ask
yourself the following questions: What is a typical day at camp like?
What is the staff-to-camper ratio? What training does the staff have?
How are the staff screened and selected? 
These are all key questions that will help you decide if a particular camp might be right for your child.  
7.  Size
The
size of a camp can play a big role in the experience your camper has.
Some kids love large settings with lots of kids and activities, other
kids tend to excel in smaller settings. 
Ask
about the number of campers and programs they run each session and if
campers will have the chance to be split into smaller groups for some
programming.  
8.  References
Ask
the camp for a list of references to call. Most camps are happy to
provide a list of parents that will provide you with a reference. Ask
about the quality of the program, the staff and the overall camp
experience.  
9.  Facility
Visit
the camp, if possible. Most camps will be happy to give you a tour or
will host an open house event for you to come and meet some of their
staff. It’s a good way to learn about a program.  
10.  Talk to your friends 
Like
most things, word-of-mouth can often lead you to the best programs. Ask
other parents about information on camps that their children have
enjoyed.  
Jennifer Ego, Program Director for Pawsitively Pets, started
Pawsitively Pets Camps with the aim to encourage children to explore
their love of pets and build their confidence and sense of imagination
through hands-on contact with a wide variety of animals. At Pawsitively
Pets, Jennifer offers camps for children from aged three to fifteen,
providing a camp experience that is engaging, positive, educational and
challenging, and that deepens children’s understanding of people and
animals.